I love the Zoom meetings we’re having with people from across the country. Writing can be lonely, but the lockdown has brought to the fore this great way of communicating. So, the WritersMic on Tuesday welcomed people from as far … Continue reading
I don’t often have time to write additional posts between Rendezvous updates. And I know that some writers are finding it hard to write right now, even though they have the ‘leisure’ to do so. These are strange times, so I began to think about how life would be in the writing/publishing world after this is over.
It struck me that there are a number of things we can do to make sure that this business of ours survives and does well. And if you have any additional ideas, let me know in the comments 🙂
If your book launch has been canceled, think about ways of having one online. People may have more time to attend and be entertained, and if they like you and your book, they’ll buy! Facebook Live seems like an easy place to start. (Note: If you’re published by a traditional publisher, make sure you have permission to read your book aloud online. It shouldn’t be a problem, but better safe than sorry.)
Or you could video yourself reading from the first chapter, and post it with an offer of a special eBook price, to encourage people to buy. If you can add Continue reading
Writers’ Rendezvous member Elizabeth Chatsworth has just announced a book deal for her brilliant book, The Brass Queen, which will be published by Equinox Books in 2020! This terrific result is the result of Elizabeth’s persistence and the fact that she pursued all possible (and some unlikely) avenues to bring the book to the attention of agents and publishers. In her blog today, she thanks the long list of people who helped her get there. Please read it, so you know how much work is involved in achieving overnight success!
Here’s the draft cover copy for the novel:
In 1897, a fiery British aristocrat and an inept US spy search for a stolen invisibility serum that could spark a global war.
Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogue inventors. Selling exotic firearms under her alias, the ‘Brass Queen,’ has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy, Trusdale, saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world they know will literally disappear before their eyes.
How could you resist, right? Please sign up on Goodreads to let them know you “Want to Read” it. Be part of the village that supports this writer. 🙂
Happy you rejoined me. 🙂 And, as you will see if you read far enough, this is all about me.
The Brooklyn Book Festival will be held from September 16-23 in a variety of venues around Brooklyn (of course). It’s one of America’s premier book festivals and the largest free literary event in New York City. Presenting almost 200 national and international literary stars and emerging authors, the Festival includes a week of Bookend Events throughout New York City, a lively Children’s Day and a celebratory Festival Day with more than 300 authors plus 250 booksellers filling a vibrant outdoor Literary Marketplace (September 22).
The Westport Writers Workshop is signing people up for one-day Saturday workshops beginning in September. Among them are: Honing Your Pitch with Allison Dickens, (September 14), Facebook For Writers w/ Jessica Grunenberg (September 21), Twitter For Writers, also with Jessica Grunenburg, Learn to Outline (How to Write a Novel & Not Lose Your Mind) with Jessica Speart on October 5, Revise and Love It with Marie Cordell (October 12). Each costs $75, and runs from 10-noon or 10-1pm.
Here, as promised, is Part 2 of the June update. Lots of author events, contests, and places to submit your work:
The Norwalk Public Library is offering two creative writing series: An ongoing poetry workshop on the first Monday evening of each month, and creative writing each Monday, from 10:30-12pm, beginning July 8. Free. Details here.
A quick reminder that I’ll be interviewing Amy Oestreicher about her extraordinary memoir, My Beautiful Detour, on July 11 at Barnes and Noble in Westport at 6:30pm. She’ll be reading, and signing her book. And there’ll be refreshments Continue reading
Erica Boyce launched her debut novel, The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green, at the beginning of April, and I was lucky enough to meet her at our local independent bookstore in Fairfield. I was intrigued by the idea of a story being told against a background of crop circles and the people who make them. When I read the book, I was delighted to find it exceeded my expectations. This is one of those books that you keep putting down so it will last longer. Or you read it all in one go. I stretched it out, and will probably read it again, because it’s wonderful. So well written, and the emotional understanding the author brings to the characters belies her youth. It’s hard to believe this is her first book. The themes encompass the struggle between rural and urban existence, acceptance of others, the revelation of secrets that can mar relationships but that forgiveness can restore, and the role of art in that process. The author had me rooting for every character, and I was sorry to leave them. An excellent book for clubs (it comes with a reading guide) and anyone looking for hope in the crazy world we live in today. So I asked her whether she would let me interview her.
GC: Yours is an unusual background story for a novel. I expect you’ve answered this a million times, but for the sake of readers who don’t know, what drew you to the idea of crop circles?
EB: It is sort of a funny hook, isn’t it? When I was in college, I fell down one of those YouTube rabbit holes and came across a video of people making crop circles. I thought it was so interesting that this group of people were essentially making art—not for the recognition or the praise, but rather for the joy it brings the viewer.
GC: Would you describe one of the major themes as the push and pull between rural and urban America, as embodied in the characters?
EB: That’s a very interesting read, and I’d say it’s part of the story, for sure. I think it’s also sort of paralleled by the push and pull between the family you’re born into and the family you make and where they supplant and support each other.
GC: How has your life experience influenced the story?
EB: I think there’s a little bit of myself in almost every character in here! But I’d say the biggest influence on the story came when I was diagnosed with the same mental illness that one of the characters’ lives with. I got my diagnosis in college, right around when I wrote those first few chapters, and over the years of learning about the disorder and how it’s affected my life, I started to wonder what would happen if one of the characters was learning the same things. It can be hard to find novels with characters for whom their mental illness is one part of the whole, as opposed to their antagonist or their guiding force. So, I decided I wanted to try to write one.
GC: What made you pick up your unfinished novel after such a long break? Did you find it better or worse than you expected at first?
EB: Oh, it was terrible! Those first few chapters were so, so cringe-worthy and required a lot of editing before it was all said and done. I’d been putting off writing the rest for a long time (several years!), and I think I kept looking for “a sign” that it was time to pick it up again. In late 2016, my day job shifted from full-time with a very long commute to part-time and working from home, so I had a lot more time on my hands and I figured that was as good a sign as any!
GC: What are you planning on writing next?
EB: I’m currently editing my second book (as yet untitled), which is due out in spring 2020. After that, I’m not sure; still feeling my way through a few ideas for book three. Hope to start outlining soon…
You can follow Erica on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also sign up for her monthly newsletter (on hiatus for the next few months) at www.ericaboyce.com She gives away a copy of one of her favorite books to a subscriber in every newsletter!
Here, as promised, is part 2 of this month’s news. Be sure to check out the writers’ Calendar page for all the events I’ve come across that might be of interest to writers. And keep writing!
Jane Friedman, book marketing guru, will be in New York for BookExpo next week, and on May 29 she’ll be teaching a 3-hour evening workshop (in partnership with Catapult) on how to build a sustainable business model for your writing career. Click here to learn more and register.
On May 30, at 5pm, the Writers’ Workshop Continue reading
Ten of us gathered for the Westport Writers’ Rendezvous on Wednesday, and applause was in the air, because that evening we celebrated the Ct Press Club Awards with a smashing party at the Delamar Hotel in Southport, CT. Novelist Jane Green, presented the awards, and kept the party moving. Among winning members and friends were: Alison McBain, Deborah Levison, Ann Lineberger, Megan Smith-Harris, Aline Weiller, Kate Mayer, Diane Lowman, Catherine Onyemelukwe, Heather Frimmer, Marlou and Laurie Newkirk, Gina Zammit, Lauren Busser, and Sarah Galluzzo. It was wonderful to be in such good company.
Thanks for following my blog, and for letting me know that you find it useful. Hope you find Part 2 helpful, too. You can read Part 1 by following the link at the bottom of the page.
On Wednesday, May 15, at 6pm, the CT Press Club will be hosting its awards evening at the Delamar Hotel in Southport, CT. Congratulations to the many winners who are part of the Rendezvous family, including Ann Lineberger, Kate Mayer, Catherine Onyemelukwe, Lauren Busser, Gina Zammit, MarLou Newkirk and Alison McBain. Looking forward to seeing you at the event. 🙂
Lisa Natcharian launched the Storyteller’s Cottage in a beautiful Victorian house in Simsbury, CT, in 2017. It began as a venue for various literary activities and events for children and adults—book clubs, author readings, Harry Potter and Dungeons and Dragons Clubs, literary parties (1930s Murder Mystery or WWII Blitz party, anyone?) and plenty more. (Check the writers’ Calendar page on this site.) In addition to all of this, Lisa offers writing courses—Six Months to Your Manuscript, Intro to Journalism and Picture Books 101 among many others. Recently she installed a writer-in-Residence, C. Flanagan Flynn, who leads workshops and one-on-one coaching, as well as writing for Inkling, (below) the beautiful quarterly literary magazine published by Storyteller’s Cottage. With all this going for it, it’s small wonder that ST is so popular with writers.
Full disclosure: I’m one of four authors featured in an evening called Book Odyssey Night on May 9, but that’s not why I asked Lisa for this interview.
Recently Lisa added to her impressive list of offerings, by launching The Storyteller’s Press. So far, they’ve published three authors, and I wanted to find out more.
GC: What made you decide to begin such a time-consuming project?
LN: In the two years that we’ve been active in the writing community, we have been privileged to meet scores of aspiring authors. As we spoke to them in the context of our writing classes and social events, we heard over and over about the difficulties new writers have trying to make an impact as tiny fish in a gigantic sea. We saw a need for a small, hometown, supportive press, where new children’s authors can launch a career with personalized, caring support.
GC: How does an author get published by you? Do they require an agent?
LN: No agent is required. Prospective authors may send us a summary of their story idea by email and we’ll respond back with a request for more information if the concept is a good fit for us. For the first year of our operation as a publisher, we are limiting our range to children’s books. As we grow, we plan to add additional genres.
GC: What makes publishing with The Storyteller’s Press different from traditional or self-publishing?
LN: We fit right in the pocket between traditional and self-publishing. As a small press that focuses on personal service, we provide a hand to hold on the beginning of the publishing journey. Whereas self-publishing requires a significant up-front investment on the part of the author, publishing with The Storyteller’s Press does not. And while traditionally published authors may receive an advance on sales, or may be asked to travel to promote their work, the Storyteller’s Press instead operates on a smaller, more human scale. We publish small initial print runs and rely on a print-on-demand model after the initial run, reducing financial risk for all involved. Focusing on our local contacts to promote new books, we work to get new authors into local independent bookstores as well as national chain stores.
GC: Does The Storytellers Press help with marketing the books?
LN: Definitely. With the Storyteller’s Cottage at the core of our local writing community, we are able to quickly garner name recognition for our new authors by promoting them on all our established communication channels, including our website, direct mail, social media, online magazine, etc. New authors are featured in our on-site bookstore, and at a variety of special events, including a launch party, storytime, writing workshop, community fairs and more. We help authors create a website, blog, Facebook page, YouTube book trailer and any other personal marketing vehicles that they can then maintain. Our staff promotes new authors to the media with regular press releases to our established contacts in the area, and will also submit authors’ names to respected online directories and for a variety of author awards.
GC: This is amazing! And finally, most important for my readers, are you currently looking for submissions, and if so, in what genre(s)?
LN: Yes we are. We would love to see submissions from local children’s book authors, especially those that have a self-confidence or educational component. Our current roster includes Amanda Bannikov, whose three books featuring Tippy the Dragon and Kimothin the girl knight all encourage children to get comfortable with uncomfortable situations; Lana Bennett, whose two books featuring Truly the Fairy use mystery-solving to build self-confidence; and Kati Mockler, whose book about magnets teaches children how positive behaviors can attract joy in life.